Previously, it was thought that women, or the guardians who controlled their property, showed a preference to invest dotal property in secure ventures.
How great a difference was there between the influence a wife exercised over the investment of the dotal goods in her husband's control and the control a widow gained over her dotal property? The influence that women exerted over their husbands' will is difficult to document, but a widow's right to control her own property had at least a legal basis.
Perhaps the most fascinating fact Gager uncovers demonstrates that in nearly one third of the contracts examined unmarried women, widows, and women who had separated their dotal property
from their husbands' command initiated adoptions of daughters and thus built families of their own.